Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Halloween Serving of Bradbury

Ray Bradbury (Photo: AP)
Halloween is nearly upon us. The folks at the EnvisionWare office are gearing up for the annual costume contest, and everyone is wondering what CEO Mike Monk will be this year. A couple years ago he was--wait for it--a monk. I personally am hoping he will finally pay homage to his doppelganger Hugh Hefner and don the velvet bathrobe. Among the employees, there is certain to be at least one wicked witch with broomstick accessory. And...dare I hope for a Justin Bieber?

Since I work out of the Arizona office, I will be emailing in a photo of an aquatic-themed ensemble that will hopefully slay the competition.

But under the surface this Halloween I will be thinking a lot about Ray Bradbury. The giant of science fiction, horror, and fantasy who so inspired me as a young boy passed away just a few months ago. Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, and Dandelion Wine are but three of his many classic books. Any other writer would have been happy to have written just one of those, but Bradbury, during his most fertile period (approx. 1942-1970), proved capable of spinning just about every random idea that occurred to him into literary gold.

He was a great friend of libraries too. In lieu of a college degree he boasted of having “graduated from the Los Angeles Public Library.” During an EnvisionWare trip to California a few years ago I learned that I had missed my hero by just a few days; the library staff had managed to coax him out of semi-retirement by sending him a fax (Ray didn't use a computer) stating that any reading/book signing he did would be a very effective fundraiser for the library. Apparently that's all he needed to hear: he promptly showed up to host an event.

In honor of this great man, and in the spirit of the time of year he liked best, here is a suitably unnerving Bradbury short story recently reprinted by Esquire. Enjoy!

Ray Bradbury: Last Night of the World

Thursday, October 4, 2012

New eCommerce and PC Reservation Versions Now Available

It has been an exiting few weeks for us here at EnvisionWare. We have recently rolled out two major releases: PC Reservation® 4.2/3.5.11 and EnvisionWare eCommerce Services™ 3.1.

For a full account of all of the new enhancements, I would recommend viewing the release notes for both products in the EnvisionWare Customer Center. Some highlights, however, are as follows:

  • PC Reservation has been tested and verified for Windows 7 and Server 2008, both 64 and 32 bit.
  • The PC Reservation configuration settings are now stored in editable files in the Program Files folder rather than in the registry.
  • eCommerce has been enhanced to support the PAYware Connect Web-based hosted payment server for credit card transactions paid via the eCommerce Web Module. The benefit of this feature includes the provision of increased options to our users when performing web-based payment transactions.
In my work with Professional Services, I have already upgraded earlier versions of these products to these new versions, and can report that the upgrade process is quick and seamless. In the case of PC Reservation, the installer automatically pulls the older registry settings and uses these to populate the new files. The original registry settings are left in place as a backup but are no longer used by the Management Console.

I strongly believe that our customers will be quite pleased with the expanded functionality and robust performance of these new versions!